Saturday night Edmonton Sun writer Rob Tychowski brought Oilers twitter into a furor when he put out the following string of tweets after Nail Yakupov scored the shootout winning goal to down the Florida Panthers and secure a rare win for the Edmonton Oilers:
So, they weren't letting Yakupov do shootouts, because....— Rob Tychkowski (@Sun_Tychkowski) January 18, 2015
Todd Nelson reveals that Oilers analytics guy had been the one advising against using Yakupov in shootouts.— Rob Tychkowski (@Sun_Tychkowski) January 18, 2015
Since Yakupov had zero career attempts, his scoring percentage was 0. Thus, everyone else was ranked higher, analytically. Total insanity— Rob Tychkowski (@Sun_Tychkowski) January 18, 2015
"There were zero analytics that supported Yak in the shootout," said Nelson. "It was a hunch."— Rob Tychkowski (@Sun_Tychkowski) January 18, 2015
That's a pretty incredible revelation, since as an avid reader of Tyler Dellow's work before he was hired by the Oilers, he was rarely a proponent of anything more than the shootout being a coin flip. While some players are clearly better at it than others are, the sample size is simply too small for any real 'analytic' to be built for it. Good shooters during play should, over large samples, be good shooters in the shootout, at least in general.
However the problem with this accusation by Tychkowski isn't that it doesn't follow from Dellow's previous work, it's that he manipulated quotes from Oilers coach Todd Nelson in order to continue an agenda against Dellow, one that is clear when he asks, completely unprompted, if Dellow has been fired.
When asked about the Yakupov choice, here is what Nelson actually said:
Reporter: "A couple of guys delivered for you again that hadn't been, Yak hadn't been getting a lot of goals, or a lot of shootouts and he scores the big one. And Fasth delivers when you need him most."
Todd Nelson: *After talking about Fasth* "You know Yak, he's been working on the shootouts quite a bit in practice. You know, it was a hunch, and he made a great play in the shootout."
Reporter: "Did you know Nail had not attempted one before in his career?"
Todd Nelson: "Yeah I did, actually. It's one of those things where i had nothing to lose. Like I said, he was feeling it, he's worked on a couple different things in practice. It was a situation where I said why not?"
Reporter: "The first game where you didn't pick him, you said he hadn't played in the third period and he was cold."
Todd Nelson: "Well there was zero analytics that supported Yak in the shootout so..."
Reporter: *interrupts* "So that analytics guy is gone?"
Todd Nelson: "No. It was one of those things where we're looking at the analytics for certain guys in shootouts, but Yak's just never went, so right now he's looking pretty good."
At no point does Nelson say that Dellow had held Yakupov out of the shootout, which doesn't make much sense anyway since this is Yakupov's third season in the NHL and Dellow has only been employed by the Oilers for half a year. Todd Nelson is clearly, obviously joking about analytics in the first response, and clarifies it to the scrum when he notes that "Yak's just never went".
There's no way that this could be misunderstood in this situation, you're right there looking at the coach laughing off a suggestion, it's simply a hatchet job to push an agenda from an unprofessional reporter.
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